Chicago Teachers Union spokeswoman Stephanie Gadlin said she expected the board to be a "rubber stamp, big time" when it eventually votes on school closings, expected at the May 22 board meeting.
This, even though the resignation of Penny Pritzker has created the possibility of a deadlock on the seven-member board.
Chicago Urban League President Andrea Zopp has been one of the Board of Education members most critical of the proposed closings. If she were to join with former principals Mahalia Hines and Carlos Azcoitia, the newest member of the board added only this year, they could potentially block school closings on a six-person body.
Zopp did not respond to requests for comment.
Some are hoping that the board can be convinced to change course, and there are public hearings scheduled ahead of the May meeting and a CTU protest Wednesday at Daley Plaza. But Gadlin did not expect the board to rule against the closings sought by Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
Thanks to measures passed by the General Assembly in the mid-1990s, when Richard M. Daley was mayor, the mayor appoints all members of the Board of Education, without any necessity for approval by the City Council or any other body. Mayor Rahm Emanuel is expected to name a replacement for Pritzker soon, although the mayor's press office did not respond to requests for comment. Emanuel has appointed all other sitting members of the Board of Education.
Others have called for a return to an elected school board more accountable to the public.
CPS spokesman David Miranda said public meetings on each school closing will be overseen by CPS staff. Board members may attend, but are not required to. The public hearing for each school held at CPS headquarters likewise will be overseen by an independent hearing officer, not board members.
A Board of Education meeting set for Wednesday was put off until next week. CPS said it was due to spring break, but others said it was to keep parents and students from attending the daytime meeting while school was out.